Communities Investment Tackles Tough Issues

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Societies across the UK are benefitting from social investment. A new report has revealed that charities and social enterprises are using investment to address tough issues, like unemployment and homelessness, in their communities – and that investment is steadily rising. Big Society Capital have shown the amount of money available has risen by almost a fifth since last year.

Big Society Capital today published its 2015 Annual Review, outlining the growth and impact of social investment across the UK.

Its new report highlights that by the end of 2015:

– Over 270 charities and social enterprises were using £195 million of social investment to support their work. This includes £68 million from Big Society Capital, alongside £127 million from co-investors

– Access, The Foundation for Social Investment, launched with a £45 million Growth Fund to offer affordable unsecured loans to charities and social enterprises

– The Business Impact Challenge announced its first ever winners – a partnership between Catch 22, Interserve and ClubFinance

– The GET IT campaign was launched to increase awareness of the new Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) – the first ten investments using SITR amounted to around £1 million

– Data on investments were published as part of Big Society Capital’s commitment to transparency

– Social investment in the UK was estimated to be worth more than £1.5 billion, with at least 3,000 different charities and social enterprises using it to improve society

The amount of money signed and available to charities and social enterprises rose to £587 million, across 48 different investments. Nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of Big Society Capital’s co-investors are UK charities and foundations.

The report highlights the impact of investment in key areas such as community, employment, training and education, and housing, with investments now reaching over 270 charities and social enterprises. Big Society Capital has also revealed that early findings from its stakeholder survey show that nearly 70 per cent of people believe it is having a positive impact.

Cliff Prior, Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, said: Our job is to make sure that charities and social enterprises can borrow the money they need to do more of their wonderful work. It’s great that we are now reaching nearly 300 organisations, and all credit to the teams here, in the social investors, and in the charities and social enterprises.

“But we know that there are many more social organisations that could benefit. Working from the ground up with the social issues and the people trying to solve them, will mean we can see where and how social investment can play its part. We want to reach a point where social investment can be a valuable and readily accessible tool in the toolbox of every charity or social enterprise.

“I’m also looking forward to getting more people involved in social investment, so that the public can invest in the things they care about. By developing new approaches like this, we can make social investment more relevant, and achieve more of the social benefits we all want to see.”

Harvey McGrath, Chair of Big Society Capital, said: “Social Investment is not just about numbers. It is about people – people who are using social investment as a tool to help their organisations do more, people investing for social impact, and the people whose lives are made better by the work of charities and social enterprises. It’s great to hear these stories and see how social investment is changing the lives of people and communities.

“What’s exciting is that Big Society Capital is not standing still – we are building on the success of our campaigns such as GET IT, which encourages the use of the Social Investment Tax Relief, and the Business Impact Challenge and developing new ways of growing the social investment market to support more charities and social enterprises.”